40 Black-Owned Restaurants, Shops & African American Landmarks in NYC
February is recognized nationally as Black History Month, and New York City has long been a place of historical significance in the African American community. From the myriad cultural experiences to civil rights and social justice movements rooted here, it's essential to pay tribute to the immense contributions Black Americans and people of African descent have made to the five boroughs. We want to encourage families to celebrate and support the dynamic Black-owned businesses that bring Black Joy to our NYC communities every day of the year by shining a light on a selection of them.
From notable museums and theaters to soulful restaurants, monuments, parks, sculptures, and more honoring the rich Black experience in New York, this list is 40 strong, yet merely a jumping-off point to inspire you to enjoy and support the contributions of the Black community to NYC. If you want to start your exploration of Black History at home, why not pick up one of these 30+ children's books celebrating the Black experience—many centered on or written in NYC.
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Black-Owned Restaurants in NYC
1. Beatstro – Mott Haven, the Bronx
Head to the boogie down Bronx to check out Beatsro, a themed restaurant that pays homage to the golden era of hip hop. Inspired by the fusion of African American and Puerto Rican cultures, popular menu items include Mrs. Vera's fried chicken and the shrimp fried rice with eggs dish dubbed, Locrio. You'll feel like you traveled back in time with a good look at the decor; they didn't skip a beat with graffitied murals and vinyl records on display for nostalgia.
2. FIELDTRIP – Multiple Manhattan Locations
As a staple in most cultures, can you ever really go wrong with rice? James Beard award-winning chef JJ Johnson's goal was to create delicious and affordable food for the community at his Harlem-based restaurant FIELDTRIP. Influenced by flavors from all over the world, the menu at this fast-casual eatery features rice bowls (and other grains) priced between $8 and $13. Diners looking for somewhere to eat that not only tastes good but is good for you can add on ethically sourced veggies and proteins like braised beef, fried chicken, or salmon.
3. Sylvia's – Harlem
NYC icon Sylvia Woods, the "Queen of Soul Food," is the founder and owner of the world-famous Sylvia's Restaurant. An institution since 1962, her grandchildren and family now manage the business. Located in Harlem, you can practically taste the history—it celebrates 60 years this year—with an order of collard greens, fried chicken, and peach cobbler. As a true beacon of hope in the city, the restaurant has catered to presidents, dignitaries, celebrities, and loyal locals. You have to be impressed with a Black-owned restaurant in New York City boasting such longevity.
4. Gooey on the Inside – Bowery
Owner and self-proclaimed emotional eater Kafi Dublin wanted to make the perfect cookie—crispy on the outside and softer inside, and in her quest, this bakery was born. Flavors include the heavenly s'mores cookies, plus new combos, like Straight Out of Chocton, with triple chocolate, and Biscoff and Cream, which sports a Biscoff custard. Bring them home, warm them up, and enjoy. Keep an eye out for happy hour deals on select weekday afternoons.
5. Queens Bully – Forest Hills, Queens
The borough of Queens is infamously known as the city's melting pot, which inspired the global flavors of this American barbecue restaurant. If you need delicious comfort food, try the truffle mac and cheese alongside baby back ribs. Trust that the Queens Bully menu won't disappoint; owner and Chef Melvin "Boots" Johnson's was crowned winner of The Food Network's Chopped for his Memphis-style barbecue.
A scoop from Sugar Hill Creamery is sure to put a skip in your step and a smile on your face. Photo by Jody Mercier
6. Sugar Hill Creamery – Multiple Locations
Opened in 2017, this Harlem-based, family-owned creamery is one of the best ice cream shops in the city and reminds the community to embrace The Sweet Life—and celebrate it with a tasty treat! With a rotating seasonal menu that features handmade, dairy, and non-dairy exotic blends and flavors, we're all swooning over their winter choices: The Unicorn (birthday cake with royal icing and rainbow sprinkles), What's Up Doc? (carrot cake), and the classic Harlem Sweeties (salted caramel with pieces of brownies and butterscotch morsels). If you're a new mama, it also hosts Zoom meetups, so order a pint (they ship nationally, or you can have it delivered locally) of your fave flavor and make some virtual friends.
7. Aunts Et Uncles – East Flatbush, Brooklyn
Anyone looking for creative, vegan options should stop by Aunts Et Uncles, located in Brooklyn's "Little Caribbean" neighborhood. Every dish is so beautifully plated and goes beyond the average avocado toast. If they've never tried it before, introduce your kiddos to Aunts Et Uncles' take on bake and saltfish, which uses hearts of palm instead of salt cod. As a bonus, you can also grab an oat milk latte while picking up a fantastic new read or clothes inside.
8. Hibiscus Brew – Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn
Positive vibes are everything inside this Jamaican-owned Brooklyn cafe that opened during the pandemic. Joyful reggae-inspired playlists will have your little ones bopping their heads and tapping their feet while you order refreshing smoothies, lattes, salads, and cornmeal porridge with toppings. Owner Allison Dunn is no stranger to entrepreneurship. You can also check out the children's book she co-wrote with her son, along with her other business, Neat Rules, a personal organizing service that allows families to take back their space and lives.
9. Mikey Likes It – Multiple Locations
Deemed pop-culture leaders of the new scoop, Mikey Likes It has locations on the Lower East Side and in Harlem that serve scoops, ice cream sandwiches, and milkshakes. New York native Michael "Mikey" Cole has launched flavors like Ice Ice Mikey, with triple vanilla, and The Brady Bunch, featuring banana pudding, Vienna Fingers, and crushed vanilla wafers. Surprise your kids with the vegan Incredible Hulk flavor that mixes spinach, kale, mango, sea moss, and more!
10. Dre's Desserts – Brooklyn
After being furloughed from his project-management construction job amid the pandemic in 2020, Andre Olivier launched Dre's Desserts, an NYC-based traveling ice cream shop that hand delivers homemade creamy pints right to your door. Although he's back at work, you can find announcements on the rotating menu of freshly handmade ice cream, vegan flavors, and boozy-spiked pints each week on Instagram. Past flavors include the Bedrock, mixed with Fruity Pebbles, The Cracked Rum Pie, spiked with rum, and Chocolate Cookies & Cream.
11. Bayou Restaurant – Rose Bank, Staten Island
Are you looking for good eats with authentic New Orleans flavor? The Bayou Restaurant is Black-owned and the only cajun and creole restaurant on Staten Island. Proudly capturing the vibes of the Big Easy in the Big Apple, patrons love the seafood jambalaya, sweet potato fritters, and the riverboat crabcakes. If you're not a local, I'm sure your mini crew will love riding the ferry over and catching a glimpse of Lady Liberty en route.
12. Roc-N-Ramen – New Rochelle
OK, so it's not exactly in NYC, but this Caribbean-Japanese fusion eatery has garnered lots of buzz as the first ramen spot to hit Westchester, so it might just be worth a trip. With a unique combination of flavors, guests have raved over the tasty oxtail bao and the jerk chicken ramen that's good down to the very last slurp.
African American Historical Sites, Museums, and Monuments in NYC
13. Universal Hip Hop Museum – Mott Haven, the Bronx
We're not sure most Gen-Z kids today have a clue about the history of hip hop, but in 2024 they're going to get schooled. The Universal Hip Hop Museum (now temporarily housed in the Bronx Terminal Market) was founded by Rocky Bucano and iconic entrepreneurs and artists, including Kurtis Blow, Ice T, LL Cool J, Nas, Grandmaster Flash, and more. The genre of music originated in the Bronx, so it only makes sense that they commemorate its global influence with the launch of this highly anticipated cultural hub. When completed, the complex will include affordable housing, a new public park, and community and retail spaces for the South Bronx community.
14. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture – Harlem
Founded in 1905 by Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, this NYPL center holds the largest and most significant Black history archive anywhere in the world. Popular events include the annual Black Comic Book festival, but if you can't make it to the center in person, you should check out the online articles, digital exhibitions, photographs, audio and video streams (Past talks include history makers such as poet Nikki Giovanni, musician George Clinton, music producer Timbaland, Harlem fashion legend Daniel "Dapper Dan" Day, and acclaimed actors Cynthia Erivo and David Alan Grier.), historical projects, and external resources for research in the history and cultures of the peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora.
15. Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute – East Harlem
The CCCADI is a unique organization whose mission is to advance cultural equity and racial and social justice for African descendant communities. Programming includes exhibitions, performances, conferences, educational programs, and international exchange programs that serve children, families, young professionals, elders, and more.
16. African Burial Ground National Monument – Civic Center
Did you know enslaved Africans were traded just a short walk away from Wall Street? In 1991 this long-forgotten burial place was rediscovered when construction began on the foundation of a federal office building. Thirty feet underground, the remains of more than 15,000 enslaved and free Africans were discovered, leading to the monument's creation. The African Burial Ground is an official landmark and is managed by the National Park Service. Entry is free for visitors to tour the 6,700-square-foot space, with its four exhibit areas, a 40-person theater, and gift shop.
17. Duke Ellington Memorial – East Harlem
Standing at 10-feet tall and surrounded by trees, this memorial to Duke Ellington has the legendary American composer, pianist, and jazz orchestra leader positioned in front of a grand piano. You can find the bronze and red granite statue at Duke Ellington Circle, located on 5th Avenue and 110th Street. Ellington is one of four monuments of musicians in the Park, along with Beethoven, Victor Herbert, and John Lennon. Head west along the north end of the park, and you'll find a monument to famed abolitionist, orator, and statesman, Fredrick Douglass at the northwest entrance to the park along the boulevard that bears his name.
18. Langston Hughes House – East Harlem
Langston Hughes was an influential Black poet, social activist, playwright, and a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He lived on the top floor of this three-story brownstone row house for the last two decades of his life, where he wrote such notable works as "Montage of a Dream Deferred" and "I Wonder as I Wander." In 2019, his former home was one of 22 sites awarded a National Trust for Historic Preservation grant.
The Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art and Storytelling pays homage to the neighborhood's roots as an epicenter of Black culture and creativity. Photo by Janet Bloom
19. Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling – Sugar Hill
Designed by internationally renowned architect David Adjaye, the Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling provides children and their grown-ups with an enriching cultural experience at an affordable price (children ages 0-8 enter for FREE). With a focus on social justice, the museum's core mission is to nurture the curiosity and creative spirit of 3- to 8-year-old children. Families can learn about Sugar Hill—the neighborhood where the Harlem Renaissance began—and the world through multimedia art, storytelling, and intergenerational dialogue with artists.
20. Louis Armstrong House Museum – Corona, Queens
As local residents, this is one of our family's personal favorites! Head to Corona, Queens, to visit the Louis Armstrong House Museum, which celebrates Armstrong's cultural, historical, and humanitarian legacy. What was once Louis and Lucille Armstrong's private home is now a national historic landmark and year-round museum. Years ago, our two boys loved learning about "Satchmo" and touring the home as inspired early musicians. Excitedly, the museum is expanding with a new center located right across the street, which is slated to open this spring. This venue will house a 75-seat performance venue and become the new location of the Louis Armstrong Archives, the largest of any jazz musician. The FREE Bloomberg Connects app allows visitors to peruse a digital guide featuring rare photos, videos, and audio clips.
21. The Ralph Johnson Bunche House – Kew Gardens, Queens
Ralph Bunche was the first African American and the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize. With the prize money awarded to him, he and his wife purchased this single-family, neo-Tudor style home in Kew Gardens, Queens, to live in with their three children. Another remarkable fact is Bunche helped found the United Nations in 1945. The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976, just five years after his passing.
22. Lewis Latimer House Museum – Flushing, Queens
Inspire future innovators with a trip to this historic, landmarked home that offers STEAM educational programs and exhibitions. A son of fugitive slaves, Latimer taught himself mechanical drawing, eventually becoming a chief draftsman and patent expert. As an African American inventor, he played a critical role in developing the telephone, invented the carbon filament, and worked alongside the greatest scientific inventors in American history—Alexander Graham Bell, Hiram S. Maxim, and Thomas Alva Edison. You can view some products from his artistic endeavors at the Lewis Latimer House, where he lived from 1903 until he died in 1928. Within the permanent exhibit, you'll find reproductions of patents, drawings and poems, original artifacts, and interactive installations.
23. Weeksville Heritage Center – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
The Weeksville Heritage Center is dedicated to preserving Weeksville, one of the largest free Black communities in pre-Civil War America, and the Historic Hunterfly Road Houses. Its thriving community presents programming that focuses on history, art, and culture. Past events hosted have included Kwanzaa celebrations, Black-owned holiday markets, dance performances, Weeksville weekends for family playtime, healing workshops, farmers markets, and more.
24. Shirley Chisholm State Park – Brooklyn
Did you know you could go hiking in Brooklyn? Named in honor of Shirley Chisholm, a Brooklyn-born trailblazer, the first African American congresswoman, and the first woman and African American to run for president, Shirley Chisholm State Park is a great outdoor space to visit. The park offers 10 miles of biking and hiking trails, gorgeous waterfront access, and environmental education programming.
25. Sandy Ground Historical Museum – Staten Island
Founded in the early 19th century by free Blacks from New York, Maryland, and Delaware, Sandy Ground is the oldest occupied African American settlement in the nation. The community was a significant stop on the Underground Railroad, and today, the neighborhood is home to Black families who are descendants of the original settlers. The museum interprets the history of Sandy Ground through the use of traditional exhibits and guided tours, music, arts and crafts, film, ethnic foods, and lectures to community, civic, and cultural groups.
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Enroll your kids in classes at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which carries on the mission of the legendary dancer, director, and choreographer. Photo by the author
Black-Owned Camps, Classes, and Entertainment in NYC
26. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater – Midtown West
World-renowned dancer, choreographer, and director Alvin Ailey's mission was to expose the world to modern dance while preserving the uniqueness of the African American cultural experience. Show your kids that dance evolves well beyond the latest viral Tik Tok choreography and enjoy an evening of theater when Alvin Ailey's national tour kicks off during Black History Month. Better yet, let kids practice their fancy footwork while burning off some energy at an Ailey Extension class. Kids ages 5-11 and teens/tweens ages 12-17 can get moving during the Kids & Teens Dance Series; classes offered include ballet, contemporary, and hip hop styles.
27. Galore Urban Tech – Queens
For the owners of Galore Urban Tech, the mission was clear: Give underserved communities access to tech education and more through STEAM-focused activities. Kids, teens, and families can participate in virtual podcast workshops, video game tournaments, coding, chess, drones, and robotics programs.
Lady B leads fun-filled music classes, story times, and more from her Lavender Blues studio in Bed-Stuy.
28. Lavender Blues Music – Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Lady B, also known as Miss Alex, is a dedicated educator whose unique, high-energy musical curriculum caters to babies ages 0-3. At Lavender Blues Music, little ones and parents are invited to a joyful and engaging music class, where families learn, sing, and play together. Virtual options and parties are also offered and you can get a taste of the tunes with The Remixes: A Baby Hip-Hop Album.
29. Black Village Arts – Queens
Creative director Brandi Jones founded this arts collective to make a creative education more affordable and accessible for Black and Brown kids, especially in schools. With experience with different art mediums, its teachers have backgrounds as muralists, digital creators, photographers, dancers, designers, and illustrators.
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Milk and Cookies Kids Spa and Salon treats its clients like royalty and every service is finished with a sweet, namesake treat. Photo by Jody Mercier
30. Milk and Cookies Kids Spa and Salon – Upper East Side
Self-care is essential for kids, too! Carve out some time for them to relax, get pampered, and glammed up while enjoying freshly baked sweet treats with friends. This spot promises to be "where fun, beauty and delicious meet." After a few hours at this Black-owned, kid-centric spa, young guests feel a boost of self-esteem. Yummy cookie-flavored treatments include manicures and pedicures with soaks, scrubs, and soufflés. Cool guys can get in on the fun with Slimy Booger Invasion treatments that come with tattoos.
31. Black Surfing Association – Rockaway, Queens
When considering a new sport to try, most city kids and their parents probably aren't aware they can tackle the Rockaway waves during FREE surfing sessions with the BSA. Thanks to this Black-owned nonprofit founded by local Lou Harris, children can partake in surfing, skating, and cooking lessons (though the last two are currently on hold due to the pandemic).
GameStation founders love playing so much, they made it their business.
32. GameStation – Hollis, Queens
Families looking for a change of scenery and a safe, fun space to get their game on should check out GameStation. When you love video games so much, it only makes sense that the owners made it their business. Pop by for casual gaming on Xbox, PlayStation, Switch/Wii, and Oculus virtual reality systems. You can also book a birthday party, team gathering, or team-building event. Just don't forget to "Bring your player 2."
33. Keiko Studios – Queens Village, Queens
If you're looking for your kids to pick up a fun new hobby, see if they are interested in playing an instrument. Keiko Studios was founded by Ashley Keiko Chambers, a musician, advocate, and educator committed to helping children understand the importance of music and how people can express themselves through it. The studio offers private lessons in piano, guitar, vocals, drums, strings, woodwinds, and brass. Students can also partake in music theory, sight-reading, and creative composing. Recitals and other performance opportunities are offered.
Fit4Dance offers classes for kids and adults, with a mission to help Black women and children add movement to their day.
34. Fit4Dance – Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Having taken one of Laci Chisholm's adult classes, I can tell you she cares deeply about the health of her community. Fit4Dance is dedicated to bringing quality dance and fitness instruction to neighborhoods that need it the most. With a mission to encourage African American women and children to take charge of their health, she guides them in shaking up their day by adding movement to their routine. Kids of all ages will have a good time trying out her Afro-fusion, ballet, hip hop, and modern dance classes.
35. A Princess Like Me – Citywide
Representation matters, and little girls deserve to feel special and celebrated with their favorite princess characters, especially ones they see themselves in. A Princess Like Me offers affordable and diverse princess characters and princess parties that are a magical experience for everyone.
My Sleepover Party comes to you, bringing beautiful, designer-quality party setups to your place.
36. My Sleepover Party – Citywide
Who doesn't love a sleepover party with their besties? Small business owners Brandi and Jenay are based in New Jersey but service the NYC area and want to make your little one's dreams come true. Party planning can be even more challenging these days, so let these ladies level up your celebration easily with a magical, themed party the kids will never forget. This experience gives complete luxury vibes with party packages that include themed tent rentals, air mattresses, breakfast trays, garlands, and fairy lights.
Black-Owned Shops in NYC
37. The Lit. Bar – Mott Haven, the Bronx
When the Bronx was in jeopardy of losing its Barnes and Noble, Noëlle Santos knew that she had to do something to promote literacy equity uptown. Currently, The Lit. Bar is the only brick-and-mortar bookstore serving the boogie down Bronx. The Lit. Bar invites curious readers to pull up and find empowerment through literature.
38. Grandma's Place – Harlem
Grandma's Place brings sweet charm to this uptown toy shop with engaging STEAM-focused kits, nostalgic games, multicultural dolls, heirloom wooden toys, and puzzles. Founder and owner "Grandma" Dawn Harris-Martine, envisioned a space where children and adults alike could have an enjoyable, high-quality family experience. As a dedicated educator, she's created a space for the community to learn and grow together.
39. Zach and Zoe – Citywide
Named after Summer and Kam Johnson's children, Zach and Zoe is a family-owned Black business that produces jars of infused wildflower honey. When their son developed asthma and seasonal allergies, the family knew they needed a healthier alternative to prescribed medications. After looking into the myriad benefits of raw honey, the Johnson's started their journey in beekeeping. Made with high-quality ingredients, each flavor—lavender, matcha, ginger, beetroot, and more can be found at several local retailers.
40. String Thing Studio – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Knitting and crochet enthusiasts can find project inspiration and meet for classes at this Park Slope haven for yarn lovers. Owner, Felicia Eve, encourages newbies to stop by this cute shop with a quaint backyard. Currently, there are opportunities to host birthday parties and virtual sessions for children.
Unless noted, photos courtesy of the venues